From the Art of Jazz Series by A Horsnell Wade
Blue is cool, calm and high above us. Blue is the brilliance of a peacock, and the shadow beside you. Blue is a song full of regret and longing. Blue is a sapphire, a piece of ice and the nose of a boat. Blue is a berry, tasty and sweet, and blue are the eyes that hold us spellbound. Moody blue. True blue.
Blue spills onto my palette and whispers across the canvas quite often. I love the softness of blue, the reassurance and quiet hush of blue. Blue can sound like a secret, taste like the ocean and feel like your favourite denim jeans.
Blue knows many names such as cobalt, manganese, cerulean, phthalo, and ultramarine. Blue colours dishes like Delft, wedgewood and willow. Blue trivia is boundless and full of interesting "blue" facts and fantasies.
I turn to blue in my abstract paintings when I want comfort and a soft shoulder to lean on. I squeeze out blue from the tube when the painting speaks of late night guitar riffs or saxophone solos. The painting asks for blue in a sultry voice or when inspiration rises from a planet called home.
How does blue speak to you? What are your favourite blue artworks? Share your thoughts on blue. All comments welcome.
What colour is hate?
The young boy in the student art class I was instructing wasn't enjoying the exercise. In fact, he didn't like drawing at all and defiantly told me, "I hate it!" Determined to involve him, I asked what colour is hate? Without hesitation, he scowled and said "RED!" "Well, show me what hate looks like, show me red", I guided him. He paused and then picked up a red pencil and started slashing great lines of vented anger across the paper. His red lines became more expressive, he incorporated words and symbols, now lost in the process. In the end, his work was by far the most expressive that day. And he turned to me with a smile. He understood.
People often comment on my use of vivid colour. My abstract paintings are all about what I feel and colour is part of that inner language in response to emotions, ideas and commentary. For me, red is passion. Red is intense. Red is hot and full of sizzle. Red can also be a counterpoint to quieter thoughts or an exclamation mark. Red can be heartache or pain. Red can be outrage or love. And red can say stop. Red is a primary colour full of primal instinct.
We are surrounded by colour every day and our response can vary from universal understanding to private thoughts. Red is a stop sign, a valentine and blood in the veins.
How do you respond to the colour red? What do you see? What do you feel? Your thoughts are welcome.
Taking Time to Breathe
Time management is a juggling act for most people. As an artist, hours are divided between the studio and a myriad of business activities ranging from correspondence and gallery submissions to the planning of marketing efforts. The work involved can be rewarding and exhausting all at the same time, as it is for most entrepreneurs.
What is perhaps a little different for artists is the truly personal nature of making their art. This is work that depends on endless imagination and ideas, hours of looking hard to see beyond the surface. Each completed artwork leads to another challenge to reach further, to do more, to connect with the viewer in a meaningful way.
All of this can be draining on the creative spirit. Well known author Julia Cameron described "filling the well" in her best-selling book, The Artist's Way - words of wisdom for artists. I couldn't agree more. I find it very important to take time for a walk, to listen, to consider, to breathe. The world is full of sights and sounds, colours and shapes to stoke the imagination.
Others often ask if I ever run out of ideas when I am painting. No, I don't.
Anna Horsnell SCA
Canadian painter of contemporary abstract art